What does Buddhism say about success?

What does Buddhism say about success?

Postby odysseus » Sat Feb 08, 2014 6:33 pm

What does Buddhism say about wordly "success"? I mean like for a layman like me.

I´m asking this because my successful life has gone down the drain. I had a good job, a nice girlfriend and many friends a few years ago.

Now I´m 40 years old and I have nothing. No job, no girlfriend or children. I don´t meet any friends much. I drink beer everyday and smoke hashish. I see my friends on Facebook having jobs, kids, many friends and all of that and I feel outside. I don´t feel very successful, except that I try to live with Buddhist principles as best as I can. It´s like I feel I should not feel down because of this, but sometimes Buddhism can be a lonely path. Maybe I´m just vain.

What would Buddha say about this? About success in worldly life.
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Re: What does Buddhism say about success?

Postby reddust » Sat Feb 08, 2014 6:50 pm

How do you feel about this? Ask the Buddha in you. I am not being flippant, that's what I did when I first started. I can't tell you what Buddha would say because I am not a Buddha. But I do dislike beer and hash. Both make me feel loopy and it's hard to stay focused on this stuff for me. :namaste:

I do have wine on a couple times a month. I just dropped coffee because it was making me really jittery and I was having a hard time staying focused on tasks. Now I feel really good, it's been almost a month since I stopped drinking the stuff :twothumbsup:

EDIT: I've been practicing for 20 years and for me this is a process of exploring myself and what I need per my conditioning to let go of what causes suffering. Everyone is very different but there are some universal truths that apply to all of us. This is what I practiced when I first started out..... http://www.buddhanet.net/xmed1.htm
Mind and mental events are concepts, mere postulations within the three realms of samsara Longchenpa .... A link to my Garden, Art and Foodie blog Scratch Living
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Re: What does Buddhism say about success?

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Sat Feb 08, 2014 8:18 pm

odysseus wrote:What does Buddhism say about wordly "success"? I mean like for a layman like me.

I´m asking this because my successful life has gone down the drain. I had a good job, a nice girlfriend and many friends a few years ago.

Now I´m 40 years old and I have nothing. No job, no girlfriend or children. I don´t meet any friends much. I drink beer everyday and smoke hashish. I see my friends on Facebook having jobs, kids, many friends and all of that and I feel outside. I don´t feel very successful, except that I try to live with Buddhist principles as best as I can. It´s like I feel I should not feel down because of this, but sometimes Buddhism can be a lonely path. Maybe I´m just vain.

What would Buddha say about this? About success in worldly life.



You should feel down, it's normal to feel down when we meet misfortune..who wouldn't feel down when they lose things?

True "success" is simply a meaningful life, one where you can connect with others - from your brief description it sounds like that is what is missing the most. Success is just a life that you can feel ok about and not regret at it's termination..that's the best any of us can ask for I think.

You shouldn't feel bad about feeling bad though, try to accept yourself..including your feelings of loss, IMO. There is a lot of pain in life, the best we can do is try to face it with some compassion, including for ourselves. Not as in feeling sorry for yourself or wallowing in misery, only knowing that it is acceptable for you to feel the way you do about it, and knowing the universality of what you are feeling.

I wish for a future filled with happiness for you, whatever that means.
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: What does Buddhism say about success?

Postby Ayu » Sat Feb 08, 2014 10:12 pm

odysseus wrote:...
What would Buddha say about this? About success in worldly life.


It is said, the "eight mundane conditions" ("loka dhamma") are able to disturb the man's mind:
- gain & loss
- honour & disgrace
- praise & blame
- joy & suffering.

They lead to either attachment or to damnation in ones mind.
Buddha recommended the training of equanimity. (Sorry for this trial of translation, It is discribed in the palicanon. I can not find the link in English. It is written in the Anguttara Nikaya, A VIII 5 + 6)

As soon as there is one of these Mundane Eight one has to become careful. Because these antagonists are connected, there is no gain without loss, no success without decline. THIS is life.
A Buddhist trains to watch this honestly and frankly. This is an inconvenient but very healthy excercise.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Upekkha
Because, if our mothers, who have been kind to us
From beginningless time, are suffering,
What can we do with (just) our own happiness?
From 10th of 37 Bodhisattva Practices
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Re: What does Buddhism say about success?

Postby Ayu » Sun Feb 09, 2014 12:47 am

Still didn't find what i was looking for, but I found this:
The conditions for worldly progress and for spiritual progress also:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nara.html
Because, if our mothers, who have been kind to us
From beginningless time, are suffering,
What can we do with (just) our own happiness?
From 10th of 37 Bodhisattva Practices
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Re: What does Buddhism say about success?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sun Feb 09, 2014 12:53 am

odysseus wrote:What does Buddhism say about wordly "success"? I mean like for a layman like me.

I´m asking this because my successful life has gone down the drain. I had a good job, a nice girlfriend and many friends a few years ago.

Now I´m 40 years old and I have nothing. No job, no girlfriend or children.


It doesn't sound as though your life has gone down the drain.
it sounds to me like you are finally free of a lot of burdens.
Think of what you can accomplish now.
Even more, without the beer and hash.
Now that you have succeeded in attaining worldly freedom
what are you going to do with that success?

You are not going to waste it, are you?
.
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Re: What does Buddhism say about success?

Postby TaTa » Sun Feb 09, 2014 12:59 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
odysseus wrote:What does Buddhism say about wordly "success"? I mean like for a layman like me.

I´m asking this because my successful life has gone down the drain. I had a good job, a nice girlfriend and many friends a few years ago.

Now I´m 40 years old and I have nothing. No job, no girlfriend or children.


It doesn't sound as though your life has gone down the drain.
it sounds to me like you are finally free of a lot of burdens.
Think of what you can accomplish now.
Even more, without the beer and hash.
Now that you have succeeded in attaining worldly freedom
what are you going to do with that success?

You are not going to waste it, are you?
.
.
.

:good:

Try reflecting on the 4 thoughts that turn the mind. =)
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Re: What does Buddhism say about success?

Postby Jikan » Sun Feb 09, 2014 1:30 am

odysseus wrote:What would Buddha say about this? About success in worldly life.


Forget it. what counts as "success" in samsara is, at best, a fool's errand.
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Re: What does Buddhism say about success?

Postby ngodrup » Sun Feb 09, 2014 6:11 am

The facts might surprise one, what Buddha taught it not what we usually think.

http://www.wisdompubs.org/book/buddhas- ... prosperity
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Re: What does Buddhism say about success?

Postby Lindama » Sun Feb 09, 2014 6:47 am

If you have to ask what Buddhism says, forget an answer. See for yourself.

My first teacher who was not a buddhist, in name, but a buddha, told a story about a man who said to him... "I have lost my job, my house, my wife, my family, my money... how can I thank you enough!" I can assure you that the statement applies to me as well! At some point we can laugh, it's not up to us when that happens.

Turn it upside down and be free! It is a first step. It was not so easy for me, but the gratitude is never ending!

blessins,
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Re: What does Buddhism say about success?

Postby greentara » Sun Feb 09, 2014 8:04 am

odysseus, Should you be hanging out in Facebook where people are sharing snaps of happy families? Its not always as good as it appears and comparisons are odious and just drag you down!
Right now you are not in a happy place. People can go through incredible peaks and troughs in life, we understand, everyone has had difficulty in life. If you can steady your mind and stay calm ...then Dogen Zenji has a message for us all
'enlightenment is intimacy with all things"
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Re: What does Buddhism say about success?

Postby Simon E. » Sun Feb 09, 2014 12:29 pm

Lindama wrote:If you have to ask what Buddhism says, forget an answer. See for yourself.

My first teacher who was not a buddhist, in name, but a buddha, told a story about a man who said to him... "I have lost my job, my house, my wife, my family, my money... how can I thank you enough!" I can assure you that the statement applies to me as well! At some point we can laugh, it's not up to us when that happens.

Turn it upside down and be free! It is a first step. It was not so easy for me, but the gratitude is never ending!

blessins,
linda

If we could see for ourselves we wouldn't need Buddhist forums... they would just be a series of self congratulations.
Can you 'see for yourself ' Lindama ?
If so why are you here ?
Unless you are performing some Bodhisattva activity based on a model you frequently come on the forum to reject.
I frankly see no evidence that you have seen or can ' see for yourself '. Any more than I can.
I mostly see you damning Buddhadharma by faint praise.
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Re: What does Buddhism say about success?

Postby Anders » Sun Feb 09, 2014 12:41 pm

I'd be on the first place to any one of Hawaii, Carribbean, Thailand or India if I were in your shoes. Then figure the details out later.

No stuff means you're free to do whatever you want. Is facebook what you want to do with it?
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

--- Gandavyuha Sutra
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Re: What does Buddhism say about success?

Postby Simon E. » Sun Feb 09, 2014 2:37 pm

odysseus wrote:What does Buddhism say about wordly "success"? I mean like for a layman like me.

I´m asking this because my successful life has gone down the drain. I had a good job, a nice girlfriend and many friends a few years ago.

Now I´m 40 years old and I have nothing. No job, no girlfriend or children. I don´t meet any friends much. I drink beer everyday and smoke hashish. I see my friends on Facebook having jobs, kids, many friends and all of that and I feel outside. I don´t feel very successful, except that I try to live with Buddhist principles as best as I can. It´s like I feel I should not feel down because of this, but sometimes Buddhism can be a lonely path. Maybe I´m just vain.

What would Buddha say about this? About success in worldly life.

I have no idea what the Buddha would have said. We live in a vastly different world to his.
I note your reference to loneliness. Sangha might be the answer, and spiritual friends..
I would try to avoid making a virtue of poverty and aloneness. That is a common western Buddhist response, but I suspect largely reflects the fact that in the west Buddhism mostly appeals to introverts.
And is as extreme as chasing fame and riches.
Ajahn Chah said ' find inner peace and the world beats a path to your door '...
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Re: What does Buddhism say about success?

Postby kirtu » Sun Feb 09, 2014 3:44 pm

Anders wrote:I'd be on the first place to any one of Hawaii


Hawaii is one of the most expensive places in the world to live although some people do in fact live there on very little. Otherwise I would have long since gone back.

Quit the beer and hashish (esp. the later). But going on a pilgrimage to India is a really good idea if you can afford it (mostly the airfare).

Many people are adrift due to various circumstances. What can you accomplish for yourself and others that is Dharma or Dharma-related? Do your negativities really overwhelm you (separate you from Dharma for a day or more at a time)? If so, you probably need to really bear down, reinvigorate meditation and ethics and then see where you can help people. Helping people is not easy and esp. not when you have lost resources. The west is mostly not set up to help people and this seems to be floundering elsewhere too.

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Re: What does Buddhism say about success?

Postby odysseus » Sun Feb 09, 2014 6:18 pm

Thanks for the thoughtful answers.

Don´t get me wrong, my life is not that bad. I don´t look at myself as a loser because of this, but I´m at a crossroads where I must find out what to do with the rest of my life.

Since I got more interested in Buddhism, I have noticed that according to what I read, I´m perhaps not in a bad position after all and that I can be happy as a recluse too!

I´m happy for my friends, but I also think myself that I have missed something. I´m not judging them because of Facebook, but I generally think they have "done well" and I have achieved nothing.

This quote was comforting, but is it from Buddha?
“The whole secret of existence is to have no fear. Never fear what will become of you, depend on no one. Only the moment you reject all help are you freed.”

My Buddhism is put to test. I don´t meditate much, but I practice ethics and patience and generosity and so on. I believe I have accomplished something in Buddhism, like more patience, sometimes peace of mind, less attachments and more strength. I have no spiritual friend or sangha, but my local lama told me to just keep on going and no need for retreat.

Thanks again, it´s not so bad being single and free with nothing but since I´m the only Buddhist I know of it can be difficult.
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Re: What does Buddhism say about success?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sun Feb 09, 2014 6:52 pm

There are so many millions of people on this planet,
comparing one's life to anyone else's could lead one to just about any conclusion!

On the practical side,
If I were you, I would contact various Buddhist monasteries or retreat centers
preferably ones with authentic teachers in residence.
and find out if they need help in the kitchen. Many do, and it is a position that is not always easy to fill.
They may not pay much...maybe room & board, free teachings & a small allowance.
if you can spend a year doing that,
you will learn a lot, and you will never, never regret it.

...and you will no longer be the only Buddhist you know!
.
.
.
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The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
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Re: What does Buddhism say about success?

Postby Lindama » Sun Feb 09, 2014 7:28 pm

Odysses
several ppl in this thread have suggested forgetting about an answer

Ultimately, Buddha said be a lamp unto yourself. Your lama has suggested keep going.

there seems to be an open road to discovery free of comparison

be well
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Re: What does Buddhism say about success?

Postby odysseus » Mon Feb 10, 2014 1:44 am

Padma: That could be a good idea with some voluntary work. My local Buddhist centre has a retreat facility. But I prefer to work out there in society, being a bodhisattva *lol*. My lama told me I don´t need a retreat, I have not taken any empowerments or vows though. He has a very relaxed attitude.

Linda: I´m not sure what you mean, I liked the answers I got. There will be an answer, let it be... I surely want to see for myself and see the rest of my life as an open road to more realisations, if that´s what you mean.

Thanks all for making me feel a little lighter...
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Re: What does Buddhism say about success?

Postby dzogchungpa » Mon Feb 10, 2014 1:56 am

odysseus wrote:This quote was comforting, but is it from Buddha?
“The whole secret of existence is to have no fear. Never fear what will become of you, depend on no one. Only the moment you reject all help are you freed.”

http://www.fakebuddhaquotes.com/the-whole-secret-of-existence-is-to-have-no-fear/
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